Sunday, January 10, 2010

A personal peak is a triumph over fear

That is from Peaks and Valleys: Making Good and Bad Times Work for You by Spencer Johnson, a book which was recommended to me during a tumultuous time this summer. It's a short, but powerful book on how to make the most of both positive and challenging experiences in work and in one's personal life. Dr. Johnson has written a number of books of similar tone and message, including Who Moved My Cheese?, The Present, and The One Minute Manager . He uses short anecdotes with a powerful message, and the advice that he gives is clear and applicable to a number of situations that we deal with in every day life. I'd recommend all of his books - none are more than 90 pages and are easy to read. More importantly, they challenged me to rethink my attitude when dealing with tough situations, both in work and life. But I digress...
In the fall, I posted that quote, "A personal peak is a triumph over fear" on the wall in front of my desk as a constant reminder that without challenges, it would be impossible for us to triumph and experience peaks. While I initially turned to that quote while dealing with other issues, I think it can also be applied to challenges in running as well. I believe there is a certain amount of fear when taking on a long-distance event. The distance looms in front of us during the months of preparation and when we toe the starting line. There's the fear of not completing the distance or reaching the goal. I think that the quote means that crossing both the start and finish lines means we're triumphing over that fear. While there was excitement, I was also filled with fear standing at the start of the Marine Corps Marathon. What if I didn't BQ? What if I hadn't prepared well? But then crossing the finish line, I was filled with a feeling of triumph in so many ways. While I've come off of that high a bit, I still savor that feeling and will hold onto that memory for years to come.
I am standing at a new starting line, so to speak. My spring semester of grad school starts tomorrow, beginning with a class in medieval latin. Latin and I have not really had the best relationship - it is very very hard. Going to class last year used to give me butterflies, and tests were no picnic either. Needless to say, I'm a bit nervous about the class, even though it is my final semester of latin (I just need to keep reminding myself of that). I'm fortunate enough to have good friends in the course with me, as well as friends who have taken the class in the past and can offer good advice/help. Plus, as my friends have said, I can qualify for Boston, I can surely do Latin. So, there is fear here as I look ahead to this semester, but I'm going to dig deep and push hard. It's not going to be easy, but I'm going to triumph over this class and semester. I may need help along the way, but victory will be mine come May!

1 comment:

  1. I recall a bit of worldly wisdom a colleague gave me once. He asked how I was doing during one particularly frantic week and I responded "Well, I've been better," to which he replied "... and you'll be worse." You'll get through this. By the way, Morton Feldman once said "I've never learned anything from any of my successes."